New Delhi, Dec. 1 -- In a certain subset of social media, a recurring post is the Japanese word for something inefficiently described in the English language. These are words that have great Instagram potential: think filtered sunlight (komorebi) or forest bathing (shinrin-yoku). But one word that has been showing up in alarming frequency on my timelines along with images such as the one pictured above is tsundoku-the act of acquiring reading materials but letting them pile up without reading.

On a recent trip to Sri Lanka, while travelling for roughly 8 hours in a minivan from Colombo to a beach on the east coast for a wedding, the adults on the bus had one singular fantasy. More than consuming copious amounts of seafood, more than swim...